When I hear the term supergroup, I cringe. More often than not what passes for a supergroup turns out to be a collection of famous solo artists with king size egos whose joint efforts produce results that are anything but super. Thankfully, that’s not the case with new jazz supergroup Hudson.
All four members of this all-star, multi-generational quartet—drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield—are improvising heavyweights with strong collaborative instincts and orientations. They all live in the Hudson Valley region in upstate New York and have an affinity for the folk/rock/Woodstock history of the place. It seems almost inevitable that these guys would connect to share their passion for the music that inspired them during the peace and love era decades earlier.
The happy convergence took place at the Woodstock Jazz Festival in 2014 but members have worked together for years in various projects. Scofield and DeJohnette have crossed paths numerous times since playing with Herbie Hancock in 1978. Scofield has also collaborated with Medeski Martin and Wood going back to the late ’90s. Grenadier has worked with all three Hudson members in different settings.
Now as a newly minted touring item, Hudson has released a much anticipated self-titled debut album. The release pays tribute to storied songs by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, and others.
Check out John Scofield’s achingly beautiful guitar caress on Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”.
Enjoy the blues-reggae vibe on Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”
And dig this down-home boogie-woogie piano/organ groove on The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek”
I love the separate work of all the individuals in this band but as The Guardian opines, “this is an elite jazz outfit collectively telling a compelling new story.”
The story unfolds at The Chan Centre on October 18. See you there.
Album Review in Pitchfork